FAR from the teachers pressing chalk on to blackboards and pupils scribbling notes into dog-eared exercise books so familiar to previous generations, today’s classrooms are increasingly becoming fully digital domains. We find out how Maidwell Hall School embraces the latest technology courtesy of Stuart McCagney, Head of Digital Learning…
Technology is about preparing the young for their future lives. Today’s young will never (like it or loathe it) live a day without a computer in their pocket, on their wrist or in whatever future guise I do not possess the imagination to predict. Our schools must enable them to harness that power to become lifelong learners.
How do you utilise technology in the classroom?
All teachers and pupils have an iPad of their own in every lesson; each classroom is equipped with Apple TVs connected to the projectors so that any device may connect to the ‘board’. Google Classroom is used to set tasks and hand in completed work. ‘Sharing’ facilitates teamwork and collaborative learning. Apps such as Notability enable teachers to immediately ‘airdrop’ notes, examples, demonstrations. The iPad camera, screen-recording, microphone, speaker, facilitates a multi-media learning environment.
Has technology had an impact on school life outside of lessons?
For the second year running Maidwell Hall DJs will have an album available to download through iTunes and Apple Music; iPad photographers explore the 55 acre grounds taking stunning pictures, whilst a talking, moving, sensing, life-size Dalek often roves through the reception hall (no-one has been exterminated yet). On the cricket field, bowling actions are videoed, reviewed and tweaked whilst scoring apps enable results to be shared instantly with the parent body.
All of this in a school where pupils spend free-time climbing trees, boating on the lake, playing squash, training for cross-country, practising musical instruments or rehearsing for dramatic productions. Allowing children to have a traditional childhood and embracing technology can most definitely go hand in hand.
How do you teach children to use technology safely?
The school actively uses social media but pupils are restricted and they are taught about safe use of the internet through lessons and talks from external experts. Usage time is monitored and restricted but also discussed to encourage a healthy relationship between pupils and their technology. The boarding school environment aids the holistic management of the structure of our pupils’ lives during the term time and finds a happy balance between traditional values and the modern world.